11 Daylight Savings Sleep Tips for Your Kids
When Daylight Saving Time (DST) rolls around it can help everyone get used to the change if you shift the schedules a little bit. Life can definitely feel a bit different! For one thing, kids get up for school an hour earlier – or what feels that way based on their internal clocks. They also go to bed earlier. Fortunately, the body is great at adapting to changes, so there’s nothing to worry about. At Pottery Barn Kids, we have some helpful suggestions to make the transition even easier.
Take it slowly
Shifting a child’s internal clock by a whole hour at once can be a quite a bit easier if you break things up. Instead, make the change gradually, starting four or five days ahead of time. If they normally go to bed at 8:00 p.m., move their bedtime to 7:45 instead. Then move it to 7:30, 7:15, and so on until they’re adjusted.
Turn off electronic devices
Watching TV and playing video games actually keeps our brains pretty active. If kids switch them off right before bedtime, it can take some extra winding-down time. It’s a good idea to have an electronics-free policy in place about half an hour before sleeping. That gives children time to calm down and get sleepy. Instead of gaming, you can read them a story. The sound of your voice is soothing, and you get to spend some quality time with them too.
When you tell your kids to turn off their electronic devices, make sure you do the same yourself – or at least put them in silent mode. That way, unexpected sounds don’t wake your child up again by accident. If they have a favorite plush toy, double check that they have it so they feel safe all night long.
Turn down the lights
Half an hour before bedtime, start to dim the lights in their room if you have dimmer switches. An alternative is to turn the overhead lights off and flip on a bedside lamp instead. Turn off the lights in the hallway too, but don’t close the door yet.
Avoid sweets before bed
Chocolate has caffeine, which can wake your child up. Try to keep candy and snacking to a minimum after everyone has eaten dinner.
Keep them comfy
The week before – and especially the night that DST goes into effect – really shower your child with affection. For toddlers, first brush their teeth, and then give them a warm bath. This causes that nice sleepy feeling to set in. Wrap them up in a soft towel or warm blanket and tuck them in snugly.
Stick with the routine
During the first week after the time change, it’s natural for our daily habits and rhythms to feel a little off kilter. To help them adjust as quickly as possible, have kids go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. That’s natural most days when they head to school, but having the same routine on Saturday and Sunday can help reinforce the pattern, too.
Naps are OK
If they still feel groggy when they get home from school in the afternoon, there’s nothing wrong with letting kids take a short nap. It’s a good way to get them caught up on any missing sleep.
Wake them up with the lights on
Keep their bedroom shades wide open when you go in for the morning wakeup. Natural sunlight is great for adjusting kids to a time change. If the house is bright, their brains can kick into gear faster. If possible, eat breakfast with them in a sunny room.
Understand what’s going on inside
Kids need more sleep than most adults. If tired parents sometimes wake up on the wrong side of the bed, the same thing can happen to children. Your kids may need about a week to adjust to the time change, even with some new routines in place, and it helps to be patient.
The end of DST is a piece of cake
Letting kids sleep in an extra hour isn’t usually a big deal for them. They also don’t mind staying up a little later at night. The only thing you might need to do is drop the shades at bedtime if the sun is still out.